Cooking With Fire: Ash-Roasted Vegetables

Vegetable take on a new identity out here in the cabin, cooking with fire built from local juniper — distinctly different than even cooking in the wood-burning oven back “home” in the St. Francis kitchen. I’d already roasted fingerlings in the cabin’s oven earlier, so I wanted to branch out for our dinner, and I’d do that a couple ways.

First, I wanted to some of the bigger, but less sturdy vegetables directly next to a burning fire outside — this time, the bell peppers until they got some color on them, careful not to overdo it. Setting those aside, I’d take some of the heartier vegetables, with skins that would ultimately be disposed of, and bury them under hot ashes, similar to the salt-baked chicken earlier. Some of the ashes, it turned out this time, were a little too hot — they cooked through some of vegetables, but burnt through them a little deeper than I’d like. I’m happy to say I was able to save the centers, scooping them out with a spoon — a little less end-product, but delicious nonetheless.

We had more vegetables to cook. This time I took some carrots sliced lengthwise and some asparagus, tossed them in olive oil and spread them out over the burning hot plancha. As they finished grilling, I tossed in fresh parsley for a little herbal kick that would compliment the goat cheese I’d crumble in later.

Alex Leiphart